There's still time to register for the online Honey Adulteration Symposium, hosted by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and featuring keynote speaker Michael T. Roberts of the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law.
The 2.5-hour symposium will take place Thursday, April 22 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The last day to register at https://bit.ly/3d2paJS is April 18. Tickets are $30 per person.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, said the symposium is an opportunity "to learn how honey adulteration affects our food system and an opportunity to take action. Honey is the world's third most adulterated food, right after milk and olive oil."
The symposium is geared toward "educating specialty food retailers who actively educate their consumers," she said. Presenters will address issues of pollination, economic adulteration and threats to beekeeping. A panel of specialty food retailers will discuss how they source and select products and educate and inspire their customers.
Roberts will focus on "understanding how honey adulteration affects beekeepers, honey production and, in the largest sense, our food system," Harris noted. Roberts, founding executive director of the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy, is described as a "thought leader in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national, and global food supply systems." He has presented papers to the United Nations, the U.S. Government, and researched extensively on food fraud, including honey adulteration. Roberts taught the first food law and policy course in the United States in 2004 and was a leading force in the development in 2005 of the Journal of Food Law and Policy, a publication devoted exclusively to the field.
The Resnick Center performs cutting-edge legal research and scholarship in food law and policy to improve health and quality of life for humans and the planet, according to its website.
Also, at the UC Davis symposium, five retailers will discuss the ways they educate their customers. The speakers are:
- Amelia Rappaport, Woodstock Farmers' Market, Woodstock, Vermont
- Danielle Vogel, Glen's Garden Market, Washington, DC
- Grace Singleton, Zingerman's Deli, Ann Harbor, Mich.
- Kendall Antonelli, Antonelli Cheese Shop, Austin, Texas
- Ralph Mogannam, Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, San Francisco
Among the other speakers will be Chris Hiatt, vice president, American Honey Producers Association, and a third-generation beekeeper at Hiatt Honey, Madera, Calif., who will share his insights.
The Honey and Pollination Center, affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is located in the Robert Mondavi Institute on Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus.
Beekeeper Clay Ford, who owns the Pleasants Valley Honey Company, also known as "Clay's Bees," is devastated.
Gone, millions of bees. At an average of 60,000 per hive, that's about 3.9 million bees.
The estimated loss: about $30,000.
And that stings.
Ford launched the Pleasants Valley Honey Co., 10 years ago with his wife Karen. A member of the Pleasants Valley Agricultural Association, he is a familiar face at the Vacaville Farmers' Market and at University of California, Davis conferences hosted by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
National award-winning photographer Paul Kuroda of Piedmont photographed the raging fire and the melted bee boxes and honeycombs. "I didn't get stung," Kuroda said. "I heard they go for eyes and mouth, so I put on goggles with my mask."
"And one followed me into my van," Kuroda related. "(It) took a ride with me, but...(it was) only half a mile." (See his fire images.)
Clay loves his bees and the family history of beekeeping. "My great-great grandfather in New Hampshire was a beekeeper," he said. (See his video on YouTube)
"But anyways once getting to know the craft and the bees, really there's almost nothing better, in my opinion, than to open a hive in the mid-spring with a little bit of nectar flowing. You open it up and the bees are just sort of sitting there humming...I mean it's absolutely wonderful."
At the Vacaville Farmers' Market, he sells several honey varietals, including orange blossom, blackberry, starthistle, wildflower and lavender.
But now the Vacaville bees are mostly gone. His out-of-town hives remain at a lavender farm, Araceli Farms, in nearby Dixon. (In a Bug Squad blog last June, we toured the lavender farm during Lavender Day and mentioned his Cordovan bees, "the color of pure gold.")
Clay also rents his bees to almond growers during the pollination season, but he won't this year. It's time to rebuild.
"Next year I'll be 60," he said. He and Karen will be rebuilding the boxes, replacing the equipment and recovering from the tragic loss of the Vacaville Fire.
Friends, neighbors, the beekeeping community and others who want to help Clay's Bees recover, can contact him at email@example.com, access his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ClaysBees/, or text him at (707)-681-9397. VENMO: @Clay-Ford-5. Or checks can be mailed to Clay's Bees at 212 Brookdale Drive, Apt., 1, Vacaville, Calif. 95687. Contact the Pleasants Valley Agricultural Association for more information on how to help the other farmers who lost their livelihoods and the residents who lost their homes.
Yes, you can.
If you've been wondering if there's still room for you at the innovative UC Davis symposium on "Saving a Bug's Life: Legal Solutions to Combat Insect Biodiversity Decline and the Sixth Mass Extinction," the answer is yes.
The free public event, set from 8:30 to 6:30 p.m., Friday, March 6 in Room 1001 of the School of Law, 400 Mrak Ave., is sponsored by UC Davis Environmental Law Society (ELS), and aims to bring together law and science to address insect biodiversity decline. You can register in advance on the Facebook page, or just show up at the symposium, according to co-chairs Kelly Beskin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Peter Jansen (email@example.com). The event will include breakfast, lunch and an evening cocktail reception. (Download the agenda.)
The symposium begins at 8:30 a.m. with a breakfast and check-in, followed by opening remarks by Kevin Johnson, dean, UC Davis School of Law; Benjamin Houlton, director, John Muir Institute of the Environment; and Peter Jansen, Environmental Law Society Symposium co-chair, UC Davis School of Law. Charlton Bonham, director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, will deliver the keynote address.
Four separate panels will center on protecting insects and biodiversity:
- The Science of Biodiversity Decline
- Listing Insets Under the California and Federal Endangered Species Acts: Procedures, Protections and Repercussions
- Pesticide Use in Agriculture: Protecting Pollinators and Sustainable Yield
- Protecting Insects and Combating the Sixth Mass Extinction: Best Policies and Practices
Insects have been called "the level pullers of the world." One study estimates that insects contribute more than $57 billion a year to the U.S. economy. However, many species currently face extinction.
Experts in the field of entomology and agricultural sciences will converse with leaders in government, legal scholars and practitioners about the current threat to insect populations "and how we can use legal tools, policy and management practices to combat the sixth mass extinction," Beskin said.
Four UC Davis entomologists are among the speakers:
- Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, whose expertise includes wasps. Kimsey is the "go-to" person in the department when the public requests general insect information.
- Neal Williams, professor and pollination ecologist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who focuses on native bees.
- Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, who has been monitoring the butterfly population of central California since 1972; and
- Brendon Boudinot, doctoral candidate and ant specialist, Phil Ward lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
During the lunch time, the Bohart Museum of Entomology will provide an insect fair. Senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart will showcase insect specimens as well as a live "petting zoo," including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, and tarantulas. Also scheduled is honey tasting from the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris. Graduate students will display their research projects, and the Entomology Graduate Student Association will be offering insect-themed t-shirts for sale. In addition, cricket protein bars will be handed out to all those interested.
Sponsors, in addition to ELS, include the California Environmental Law and Policy Center; UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment and the UC Davis School of Law.
Mark your calendar to "save a bug's life." It promises to be an educational and fun event.
Judges were Tom Seeley, professor at Cornell University, the symposium's keynote speaker; speaker Santiago Ramirez, assistant professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis, and native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor at UC Davis. Master beekeeper/journalist Mea McNeil of San Anselmo served as the timer and coordinator for the panel.
“In conservation biology and ecological study, we must know the distances organisms travel and the scales over which they go about their lives,” Mola said of his work. “To properly conserve species, we have to know how much land they need, how close those habitats need to be to each other, and the impact of travel on species success. For instance, if I'm told there's free burritos in the break room, I'm all over it. If the 'free' burritos require me traveling to Scotland, it's not worth it and I would spend more energy (and money) than I would gain. For pollinators, it's especially important we understand their movement since the distances they travel also dictates the quality of the pollination service they provide to crop and wild plants."
Second place of $600 went to Maureen Page, a second-year Ph.D. student in Neal Williams lab for her research, “Impacts of Honey Bee Abundance on the Pollination of Eschscholzia californica (California golden poppy).”
Page presented her research on the impacts of honey bee abundance on native plant pollination. “While honey bees are economically important, they are not native to North America and may have negative impacts on native bees and native plant communities in certain contexts,” she related. “My research is ongoing, but preliminary results suggest that honey bee abundance may negatively affect the pollination of California poppies.”
In her abstract, Page wrote: "Many studies support the claim that introduced honey bees compete with native pollinators. However, little is known about how honey bee introductions will affect native plant communities and plant species' persistence."
Page received her bachelor's degree in biology from Scripps College, Claremont, Calif. in 2006, cum laude. She seeks a career as a professor and principal investigator.
Two graduate students tied for fourth place and each received $250: doctoral student Jacob Francis of the University of Nevada, for his “A Sweet Solution to the Pollen Paradox: Nectar Mediates Bees' Responses to Defended Pollen” and Katie Uhl, a master's student, UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, for her “Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds in Mono-Floral Honey Using HS-SPME/GC/MS." Francis studies with major professor Anne Leonard of Ecology, Evoluiton and Conservation Biology. Uhl's major professor is Alyson Mitchell.
Also honored was Kimberly Chacon, a doctoral student in the UC Davis Geography Graduate Group who studies with Professor Steve Greco for her “A Landscape Ecology Approach to Bee Conservation and Habitat Design." She received $150.
The annual Bee Symposium, themed "Keeping Bees Healthy, " is sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, headed by director Amina Harris, and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, chaired by nematologist and professor Steve Nadler.
Harris and Professor Neal Williams of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, who serves as the center's faculty co-chair, emceed the symposium. The symposium drew a crowd of 250 from across the country.
Seeley is the Horace White Professor in Biology, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, where he teaches courses on animal behavior and researches the behavior and social life of honey bees. He's the author of Honeybee Ecology: A Study of Adaptation in Social Life (1985), The Wisdom of the Hive: the Social Physiology of Honey Bee Colonies (1995), and Honeybee Democracy (2010), all published by Princeton University Press. His books will be available for purchase and signing at the symposium.
The daylong event "is designed for beekeepers of all experience levels, including gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in the world of pollination and bees," said Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center. "In addition to our speakers, there will be lobby displays featuring, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, and much more."
Graduate students throughout the country are invited to submit their research posters. The winners will share $1800 in cash prizes. Applications must be submitted to Liz Luu at firstname.lastname@example.org, by Feb. 12. For the rules, see this web page.
The conference begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., with welcomes and introductions at 9 a.m., by Amina Harris and Neal Williams, UC Davis professor of entomology and faculty co-director of the center. Seeley's keynote address at 9:15 a.m. follows.
10:15 a.m. The Evolution and Chemical Ecology of Orchid Bees
Santiago Ramírez, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology
10:45 a.m. Break
Graduate student posters available for viewing
11 a.m. Understanding the Nuances of Honey: An Educational Tasting
Amina Harris, Director, Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, UC Davis
12 Noon. Master Beekeeper Program
Honoring the Apprentice Level Master Beekeepers—Pin Ceremony
Elina Lastro Niño, Extension Apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Bernardo Niño, Staff Research Associate, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
12:30 p.m. Lunch
Graduate student poster presentations
2 p.m. An Update from Project Apis m
Danielle Downey, executive director, Project Apis m
2:45 p.m. Designing Bee-Friendly Gardens
Kate Frey of Hopland, Calif., ecological garden designer, consultant and columnist, and co-author of The Bee-Friendly Garden (with Gretchen LeBuhn, professor of biology, San Francisco State University). The book won the American Horticultural Society 2017 Book Award.
3:30 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. Lightning Round
4 to 6-minute presentations about many different programs in the world of beekeeping followed by a question and answer session
4:30 p.m. Winners of the Graduate Student Poster Competition Announced
4:45 p.m. Close
Reception (weather permitting) in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.